Tag Archives: Love Is The Answer

Curious about Eppie? Just ask Ann Landers. And, the Who’s Who who cheered Barbra in the village

Ms LONELYHEARTS: After a memorable guest spot as a dying nurse on the first season of Edie Falco’s hit series Nurse Jackie, veteran stage and screen charmer Judith Ivey opens tonight at Manhattan’s Cherry Lane Theater in a one-woman play about legendary lovelorn advice columnist Ann Landers called The Lady With All the Answers.

IVEY: as Ann Landers

IVEY: as Ann Landers

The last time I remember seeing Chicago’s queen of hearts, as Eppie Lederer (her real name) was called, was at Chaz & Roger Ebert’s wedding. Eppie and Brian Linehan were hot-footing it on the dance floor when it started to get a tad too hot for Eppie. “Tame it down, tame it down!” she protested, and Linehan graciously acquiesced.

After dispensing sage advice to thousands of grateful readers, by the end of her career Eppie was most famous for failing to save her own marriage. Also, much to her chagrin, her daughter Margo Howard, who eventually took over her column, would marry four times. But then, when has a daughter ever really listened to her mother?

I was much better acquainted with Eppie’s twin sister Pauline, who was equally famous as the Abigail Van Buren of Dear Abby. In the days when newspapers ruled, the sisters’ columns competed with each other in rival journals. Ann Landers was in the Toronto Star, so Dear Abby ran in The Toronto Telegram (and later the Toronto Sun.)

ABBY & ANN in their heyday (AP)

ABBY & ANN in their heyday (AP)

Eppie was a permanent fixture in Chicago. ‘Abby’ lived in California and enjoyed it. Like her sister, she was bright, vivacious and always good company. One day I walked into Norman Jewison’s beach house in Malibu and Norman, ‘Abby’ and Washington columnist Art Buchwald were all sitting in the living room, busy debating a burning issue of the day. As I approached them Abby looked up at me and beamed.

“We met in Toronto two weeks ago!” she proclaimed, struggling to remember my name. “I know you!”

“I don’t!” said Buchwald with a shrug, and returned to debating with Jewison.

CHANNING: "Absolutely not!"

CHANNING: "Absolutely not!"

Identical twins born 17 minutes apart, the sisters also got a kick out of teasing people when they were mistaken for each other. One night I bumped into Eppie in the bar at the Four Season in Hollywood and started talking about mutual friends in Chicago until I saw the twinkle in her eye.

“Yep,” she said, grinning – “I’m the other one!”

Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith says that years ago Eppie’s good friend Carol Channing wanted her Hello, Dolly! composer Jerry Herman to make a musical for her to star as Eppie. “To which Eppie said, ‘Absolutely not!’ But now there is a two-time Tony winner channeling Ann Landers,” adds Liz – “and everybody just hopes Eppie approves.”

VILLAGE PEOPLE: Yes, Barbra Streisand really did return to the tiny Village Vanguard club in Manhattan to perform songs from her new album, Love

STREISAND: stage fright?

STREISAND: stage fright?

Is The Answer, with only a jazz quartet behind her. (Chalk it up to the influence of her album producer Diana Krall. Not that there would have been room for an orchestra, let alone a band. “It’s hard to have stage fright,” Streisand remarked, “when, like, there’s no stage!”) Her audience, comprised mainly of contest winners from around the world, were thrilled to find themselves squeezed against such devoted Barbra boosters as Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Donna Karan, Barry Diller, David Geffen and composers Marilyn & Alan Bergman. Streisand was reportedly in glorious voice, and in addition to tunes from her new CD, she also reprised a few of her classics, including Evergreen (which she dedicated to a misty-eyed Bill Clinton) and The Way We Were.

Apparently you had to be there to believe it. And don’t you wish you had been?

TOMORROW:

What Julie Stewart and Dan Aykroyd are up to in Toronto.

Juno stars Page & Cera and director Jason Reitman return to TIFF with three new flicks. Meanwhile …

PAGE: on a roll

PAGE: on a roll

MEANWHILE: Don’t be surprised if TIFF-bound Jason Reitman, who scored his first big hit at the festival with Thank You For Smoking, bumps into his Juno star Ellen Page. The irresistible Ms Page is coming here to promote Drew Barrymore’s first film as a director, Whip It, which features the most roller derby pulchritude we’ve seen since Raquel Welch tore up the track in Kansas City Bomber.

Meanwhile, joining Page and Barrymore on screen are formidable femmes Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis and SNL scene-stealer Kristen Wiig, so what’s not to like?

CERA: "hysterically twisted"

CERA: "hysterically twisted"

Meanwhile, Page’s Juno co-star Michael Cera has his own entry in the upcoming TIFF sweepstakes: Youth In Revolt, which TIFF programmer Cameron Bailey describes as an “hysterically twisted coming of age tale,” with Zach Galifianakis, Jean Smart and Steve Buscemi, directed by Miguel Arteta.

Meanwhile, director Reitman, still in L.A. finishing his new TIFF entry Up In The Air, has been taking Sundays off to screen movies he’s never seen but always wanted to. Last Sunday’s screening? Francois Truffaut’s 1959 classic The 400 Blows.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Prima ballerina turned prima producer Veronica Tennant is on the Gemini honours list again. This time she’s up for two, with a Best Director nomination for her shot-in-Cuba dance essay, Vida Y Danza Cuba, which is also nominated for Best Performing Arts program. Ms

DORE: clowning at Comix

DORE: clowning at Comix

Tennant’s brilliant cinematographer, Don Spence, is also a nominee this year, for his fearless camerawork on the Rick Mercer Report, which is about to launch its seventh season on CBC Television … reigning country music queen Shania Twain and Tony-winning Wicked star Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) have both been tapped to sub for Paula Abdul as guest judges on the next season of American Idol … and Canadian crowd-pleaser Jon Dore headlines at Comix, the comedy club on West 14th Street, this weekend in Manhattan.

OH TO BE A FLY ON THAT WALL: It’s official — Barbara Streisand is giving an intimate concert of selections from her new album at the famed New

STREISAND: new Love

STREISAND: new Love

York jazz club the Village Vanguard on Sept. 26. Her new album, Love Is the Answer, will be released Sept. 29 and marks the first time that Streisand has worked with Diana Krall and her combo. Streisand was executive producer of the album; Krall was producer.

“Her mom used to play my records,” says Streisand, “so she kind of grew up with them. I usually produce a lot of my own things, so we did it as a collaboration.”

The regular CD features the orchestra versions of the songs; the two-disc deluxe CD set also features Streisand performing the selections with Krall’s jazz group.

KRALL: producer

KRALL: producer

Krall always records basic tracks with her band and then the orchestra is added later. “David Foster records that way, where you do the tracks first,” Streisand told L.A. Times reporter Susan King. “I don’t particularly like it. But it brought me back to the way I started, so there was something very … nostalgic … about it.”

The small Manhattan clubs where she got her big break, the Bon Soir and the Blue Angel, are gone now. When she was 19, she auditioned at the Vanguard, where Miles Davis was the star of the show. “I didn’t get the job.” No, but somehow she managed to survive. Last month her three-disc DVD set, Streisand: The Concerts, went platinum after a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Charts, making it the biggest selling music DVD of 2009.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

TOMORROW:

Pre-TIFF Oscar buzz, Hugh Jackman,  Jodie Foster & Mel Gibson, and more.

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